We Got Engaged!

    tl;dr I proposed to Morgan. She said yes. We’re gonna get married!

    On 2017-12-30 in a little town called Paia on Maui, Hawaii, Morgan, Eli and I were sitting on the sidewalk eating some food that we bought across the street at a natural foods grocery store called Mana Foods. A couple people walked passed us and only Morgan was looking in the right direction to see that one of the people was Weird Al Yankovich.

    On 2017-12-31, Morgan, Eli and I were hitchhiking on South Kihei Road to go to Little Beach for the Sunday / New Year’s Eve festivities. A car drove by and Eli and I both looked at the driver and Morgan happened to look at the passenger riding shotgun and saw that it was Weird Al Yankovich again!

    We caught a ride with Saman in his overheating van that was full of coconuts and lilikoi. He was also going to Little Beach, so he took us all the way there. We walked in through Big Beach, climbed over the thirty-ish foot rock and arrived at Little Beach. When we got there at around 5pm, there were probably about 200 people there.

    Little Beach is a clothing optional beach. It’s got beautiful soft sand, gentle but fun waves and a view of Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Molokini Crater. Every Sunday people get together and form a drum circle and do fire spinning.

    We watched people bang on their drums. We swam in the waves. We saw humpback whales jumping out of the water doing adorable little twists and blowing breathes out of their blowholes. We watched the sun set and everyone cheered.1

    After the sunset, most people on the beach left. Some people started spinning fire. We ate some more snacks. At twilight, the three of us took off our swim suits and went skinny dipping. 2

    Eli got done swimming first and headed back to the towel (and, let’s be honest, the snacks). Morgan and I stayed in the water, naked bobbing in the waves of the Pacific Ocean at twilight. While holding each other close like a couple koala bears for warmth and for kissing, I realized that this was the moment I had been waiting for.

    Sometime in the middle of 2017, I decided to ask Morgan to marry me, but I didn’t want to propose then, during cancer and chemo and the general dumpster fire of 2017. I wanted it to be a special moment when we were our best selves, a happy memory forever.

    It was New Year’s Eve. We were on Maui in Hawaii on a beautiful beach. We had just watched a great sunset and whales breaching. Hippies were banging on drums and spinning fire. We were holding each other naked in the ocean. We3 saw Weird Al twice in as many days. This was, in fact, us at our best selves.

    So, I said to her. Girlfriend, you’re the best girlfriend ever. Let’s have a marriage. Let’s have a marriage license. But in the voice of Homestar Runner. She said, ok. And then we kissed out in water, now engaged!


    There was no ring. We both hate rings and don’t want our fingers to get ripped off. We’re not gonna elope or go to the courthouse. We’ll do up a right and proper wedding with all of our people there. We don’t know any of the other details yet. When we figure it out, we’ll blast it out. XOXO.


    1. That’s a thing that we’ve seen at several beaches, not just the hippie drum circle nude beach. People of all types on Maui cheer after the sun sets. I like it.

    2. This was a big deal for me. I’ve never been very courageous about my body and nudity in public or in front of people other than my girlfriend. I’m trying to get over that particular hang up. I’ve just started wearing little bitty hot pants booty shorts swim trunks. It’s a small thing, but it was a big personal achievement for me. New year, new me.

    3. “We”, but really just Morgan. I only saw the back of his hair as we walked away.

    2018 Goals

    2017 was a doozy. I have big ambitious plans for 2018.

    $

    First and foremost, I need to square up my money situation.

    • Get pay raise
    • Pay off all debts
    • Start savings (toward house)
    • Help Morgan get a good job
    • Stretch goal: medium van maintenance projects
    • Stretch goal: morse code tattoos

    Sandstorm

    When Bookis and I started Sandstorm, we decided to build a real company, not just a hobby. So, together we’re going to keep iterating on it and try to grow it into our primary focus, not just a side hustle.

    • Grow to 50 active users
    • Build a JSON API
    • Build a CLI
    • Build sandstorm.yml configuration
    • Stay profitable

    Career

    Lately I’ve been feeling some regrets about missed career opportunities. Stagnant and listless. So, this year I’m going to invest heavily in my career development and growth.

    • Ship improved personal site and resume / portfolio that I’m proud of
    • Speak at 1-2 confs
    • Get Better at testing in practice
    • Get Better at API development
    • Learn about containers / Docker / Kubernettes
    • Learn Sketch better
    • Learn PaintCode
    • Learn InVision Studio
    • Ship & Iterate Walk Fast, Talk Fast (with Bookis)
    • Open PCRR (shhh…) stretch goal

    CrimethInc.

    2017 was a real big year for CrimethInc. In 2018, I’d like to finish up a few remaining big technical projects.

    • Contradictionary content section on the site
    • Site translation infrastructure
    • Article translation infrastructure
    • Fundraising platform
    • /public folder streamlined
    • /seeds moved to a db dump to S3 / import script
    • Developer onboarding improved and streamlined
    • Poster series (stretch goal)

    Health

    I don’t have cancer anymore which is amazing. This year I want to get more physically fit.

    • Weight back down to 130-135 lbs
    • Run twice / week (3-5 miles each) - 300–500 miles / year
    • Calisthenics crunches / pushups: twice / week

    Travel

    I love traveling. I’ve been to 49 of the 50 United States, only leaving Alaska. I’ve travelled the US fairly extensively. Now, I’d like to travel internationally more.

    • European summer / fall speaking tour
    • International 1-3 countries
    • Confs attend 3

    Creative

    I’ve never build as avid of a reader as I want to be. I have friends that read a book or two per week, but for now I’m aiming for a couple per month for now. I also have a few novels in my brain. I need to start getting those written down.

    • Write the adventure novel
    • Read 24 books (non-comic)
    • Design 1 small Mac app (GrandPerspecive?)
    • Add to my forever books library collection

    Tech

    I have a handful of housekeeping tech chores that I’ve put off for too long. It’s time to clear up personal technical debt. Some big, most small.

    • Delete all Facebook archived posts
    • Import Flickr to Apple Photos
    • Automate new computer setup (see: Searls’ thing)
    • Rebuild farmhouse.co as a static site archive (in past tense)
    • Rebuild cascadiaruby.com as a static site archive
    • Rebuild audio.theresistancearmy.com as a static site archive

    2017 Wrap Up

    It’s the end of the Gregorian calendar year and we’re all getting reflective and aspirational. So, in classic “I didn’t blog much this year, but it’s the end of the year so I should do a wrap up post” fashion, here’s a wrap up / looking forward post.

    Didn’t Do

    First of all, there were a bunch of bigs things that I didn’t do that I had been doing in years prior (and wanted to continue) or things that I wanted to start (or finish) in 2017, but didn’t.

    Dark Matter

    I basically didn’t touch Dark Matter (my #indieweb implementation / Ruby on Rails CMS that powers my site) all year. I didn’t scuttle the project, but I decided that it was a much lower priority this year.

    Indie Web Camp

    I didn’t attend the annual Indie Web Summit this year. That’s the first one that I missed and I even lived in Portland this year. (I didn’t go to any regional Indie Web Camps, either.) I probably would’ve attended even though I didn’t do anything new to talk about, but it was a on a weekend that I got chemo poison pumped into my body.

    I also was nearly completely inactive in the #indieweb IRC/Slack channels. I did pop in for a little bit to help transition Ben Roberts to being the Microformats gem owner.

    Travel

    Because of cancer and chemo, I didn’t really travel anywhere this year. The total solar eclipse and the post-cancer Hawaii trips are the exceptions.

    Pay Debts

    The best laid plans always fail. At the end of 2016, my girlfriend Morgan and I had a plan for how we could pay off all of our debts in 2017. And then 2017 happened. “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Instead of paying off debts, I got diagnosed with cancer and accrued more debt. Same same but different.

    Save Money

    I can’t save money until square up my debts. So this was a non-starter this year.

    Van Improvements

    A combination of a few things discouraged me from doing any meaningful van improvements. 1. No extra money in the life budget for van work. 2. We weren’t living it, so van work was less pressing. 3. Cancer / chemo zapped me of any energy for physical projects.

    Fitness

    I didn’t do anything resembling exercise or physical fitness this year during cancer and chemo days.

    Did do

    Looking back, I’m surprised and impressed by how much I did accomplish this year though.

    Happily

    I worked the whole year for my good friend Sarah Shewey at her event staffing startup called Happily as the sole developer (Ruby on Rails).

    End of #vanlife

    Morgan and I lived in our 1987 Volkswagen Westfalia camper van full-time for 18 months from July 2015 to January 2017. Our van is named #LittleMisadventureTime It was amazing. I don’t regret it at all, but we were both ready for a home in a house.

    Portland and N8duke

    We ended #vanlife by moving into a house owned by one of my BFF’s (Nate Duke, my longest friendship) and living with him and his special lady friend, Sarah Murphy. They were great at being our roommates and even greater at being my support tribe during chemo. Somehow, this was the first time that Nate and I have lived together.

    CrimethInc.

    At the start of 2017, I helped launch a new website and a new publishing model for CrimethInc. We publish a lot more frequently than in the past. Our eventual goal is one article per week day. For now, it’s about 3-4 articles per week. We published two books this year and have lots of plans for next year. There’s also been a small but impressive group of random strangers contributing to the project. They’re great.

    Cancer

    This was, of course, was the biggest thing of my year (my life). I got diagnosed with advanced stage Classical Hodgkins lymphoma early in the year. In hindsight, based on the night sweats as a symptom, I think I had this cancer slowly smoldering inside of me for 5ish years.

    Chemo

    After a bit of hurry up and wait to get to the actual diagnosis / prognosis / treatment plan. I went through chemotherapy every other Friday for six months. It was both much harder and much easier than I expected.

    PS. If you ever have to go through chemotherapy, I absolutely implore you to get a port installed. Getting the chemotherapy directly through your arm veins is such a bad idea. Avoid it at all costs.

    Cancer Free!

    Remember that one time that I had cancer? That was so weird.

    All told, I got very unlucky and then very, very lucky. The cancer that I had was one of the couple few that’s actually curable, not just treatable. I had the very best treatment and support network a person could hope for. One month after my final chemo, I got the confirmation PET scan showing that (as far as anyone can tell) the cancer is gone for good. There will be checkups over the next few years to continue to confirm that it’s still gone gone, but all signs (and statistical data) points to it’s gone for good.

    Morgan’s Code School

    This one is less of what I did and more of what I watched. Morgan went to Code Fellows (now, Alchemy Code Lab) for a four month full-stack Javascript program. It was fun to watch someone going from zero to knowing how to program. It was frustrating to watch others' teaching style and focus. It also was frustrating to only be able to help her so much because a lot of the Javascript was way out of my wheelhouse.

    Microformats Gem

    Ben Roberts has been around #indieweb land for a long time. In a total surprise (to me), he showed up one day with a pull request that basically rewrote the entire Microformats Ruby gem.

    Several years ago, I started the tiniest version of this gem and then quickly realized that it would be much bigger than I expected. Jessica Suttles took it over from there and built the first real version which was nearly spec complete. Ben brought it up to spec completeness and feature parity with the other language implementations of Microformats parsing.

    I helped him release a deprecation warning version since so much backward compatibility would break. Then we released a new full version with all of his work. Then, by chance during this time, I got ownership of the microformats gem, so we were able to rename the microformats2 gem to simply microformats. Dropping that 2 felt good. It also felt good to hand over the keys to the castle and let Ben fully own the gem and releases. He’s done a great job.

    I launched a simple Microformats explainer site and parser sites for each of the language implementations.

    Sandstorm

    One of my BFF’s, Bookis Worthy and I co-founded a startup called Sandstorm. We worked on it nights and weekends style during chemo days. Near the end of the year, we applied to Y Combinator and did not get accepted. Subsequently, we launched our first customer using Sandstorm in production: Breaker.

    Total Solar Eclipse

    The only traveling that I did during chemo days was 70 mile drive south from Portland, Oregon to Albany, Oregon. The occasion was to see a total solar eclipse. It was without question the most amazing experience of my life. I’m definitely going again in 2024, but hopefully I can arrange my life to see other ones between now and then.

    Hawaii

    Pretty early into the chemo process, Bookis asked me what my travel availability / plans would be in December 2017. I had no idea, but when he told me that he and the family were going to Maui for a month, I said I was in. (I’m writing this post right now in Maui.) Morgan and I booked a place for the whole month and invited friends to cycle through one week at a time.

    No one really needs a reason to spend time in paradise, but this trip in particular trip was to relax with friends after this hellacious year and to celebrate that I don’t have cancer anymore. It’s been amazing. (And because of my plane ticket buying error, Morgan and I will be spending a week on Oahu too.)

    2018

    Like a lot of my past end of the year wrap-ups, I have ambitious goals for next. I almost always come up short, but always still do lots of great things. I’ll likely not finish all of my goals for next year, but I’d rather aim high. That’ll be in another post.

    Lightheaded All Day Long ...And Becoming a Cyborg

    Today is day three in a row of feeling lightheaded the whole day. It’s like I stood up too fast. But, you know, I didn’t and it’s all the time all of the time. Even when laying down.

    I don’t know my glucose level right now now, but when I got my PET scan last week, it was real good. At the suggestion of a friend, I got a personal blood pressure checker and started checking my levels when I’m feeling especially woozy.

    Otherwise, symptoms have been real good.

    Updates on Twitter as I check my blood pressure are here.


    Tomorrow, I go into the hospital to get my port installed near my collarbone at the unseemly hour of 06:00am. The port is to make it easier to insert the chemo infusion IV needle thingy each time and to not totally destroy my arm veins (which is an effect that one of the chemo drugs has on veins).

    Later in the day, after my port installation has made me a cyborg, I’ll get an echocardiogram to test the strength of the squeeze of my heart. The day after is a pulmonary function test (PFT) to test the strength of my lungs.

    Friday is chemo.

    While I’m in the hospital for the tests, I’ll check in with my oncology peoples about why I’m so fucking woozy and lightheaded.

    In more pleasanter news, my appetite is back and my palate is back to my normal (I’m not a super taster anymore). The trade off is I can stop being hungry no matter how much I eat. Maybe my cancer has a tape worm.

    Perfect Songs

    Katie Nolan asked on Twitter about perfect songs.

    I saw her question via Tony Price’s answer. Which was a perfect answer. It really is a perfect song.

    I started thinking about what I thought was a perfect song, which turned into perfect songs, which turned into a whole collection of perfect songs. This isn’t really playlist in any curated or ordered sense, just a collection of perfect songs. (This was made off the top of my head over the course of about 30 minutes. I’m sure I’ve missed obvious songs.)


    Hip Hop / R&B

    “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” by Us3

    “Formation” by Beyoncé

    “Fu-Gee-La” by The Fugees


    Indie

    “Apistat Commander” by Xiu Xiu

    “C’Mon C’Mon” by The Von Bondies

    “Girlfriend” by Matthew Sweet

    “Holiday” by The Get Up Kids

    “Keep The Car Running” by The Arcade Fire

    “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer

    “Song 2” by Blur

    “Tallulah” by Allo Darlin

    “Wandering Star” by Poliça


    Pop / Rock

    “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

    “Nothing Compares 2 You” by Sinead O’Connor

    “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson

    “Smash It Up” by “The (International) Noise Conspiracy”

    “Unbelievable” by EMF

    “You Get What You Give” by New Radicals


    (Post) Hardcore

    “Arcarsenal” by At The Drive-In

    “Caboose” by Snapcase

    “Dead Flag Blues” by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

    New Noise by “Refused”

    “Of Roots and Wings” by Between Earth And Sky


    Punk Rock

    “Canada” by The Thermals

    “Done Reckoning” by Avail

    “Rebel Girl” by Bikini Girl